Urban Deer Management

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The City of Ames, like many other urban areas, has experienced an increased deer population. Deer population densities greater than 30 deer per square mile may cause problems with habitat and conflict with people. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has worked with the City of Ames to establish an urban deer management plan. The goal of this plan is to obtain a deer population that is acceptable to most Ames citizens. The City of Ames Urban Deer Task Force considers the number of complaints, deer carcass pickups, and information from an annual aerial survey.

a deer standing on snow in a wooded area


Why are there now so many deer in the city?

  • No natural mortality except for deer/vehicle collisions (DVC’s)
  • Hunting was prohibited by Ordinance (discharge of firearms or projectiles) before the current Deer Management Program
  • Property owners feeding and protecting deer (Deer feeding is now prohibited in the city.)
  • Urban development incorporating woodlands and other deer habitat

Problems caused by deer:

  • Citizen complaints about high deer concentrations in some areas
  • When adjacent neighbors disagree on the absence or presence of deer, i.e., one neighbor is feeding deer next door to one that is an avid gardener experiencing extensive damage
  • Property/landscaping damage
  • Deer vehicle collisions
  • Browsing of plants
  • Bucks rubbing trees

Urban Deer Hunting

Hunting primarily female deer will keep the population under control and at a level desirable to Ames citizens. Hunting is a successful wildlife management tool for controlling deer populations and is used in other cities in Iowa. For a list of other Iowa communities using urban deer management and more detailed hunting regulations, see the Iowa DNR Deer Management Zone Hunts website.

Hunters who want to participate must: 

  1. Complete a one-time bowhunter safety certification course, click here for Iowa DNR information. 
  2. Complete an annual proficiency test. Contact Jax Outdoor, 4723 Lincoln Way, Ames to schedule an archery proficiency test.  There may be a charge.
  3. Register with the City of Ames by completing a registration form - available from the Ames Police Department, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames. 


Related Documents:

Forms to download: